How to Spot Phishing Attempts and Fraudulent Emails

How to Spot Phishing Attempts and Fraudulent Emails

In this day and age, it’s vital that you secure your personal data online. This doesn’t just apply to individual internet users - but businesses too! Business owners need to protect their own personal and financial information while also keeping customers’ personal details safe. Failure to do so could result in breaches of personal data and increases the risk of your business – or customers – falling victim to online scams.


How can you make your website more secure?

As website and eCommerce specialists, we can help to make your website more secure. The websites that we develop will already have a range of security measures in place as standard but we can also assist with older websites or those developed elsewhere. We are not limited by system either as we can deploy patches and improvements to WordPress, Magento, Umbraco and Drupal websites. These may include:

  • SSL Certificates
  • reCAPTCHAs
  • Two Factor Authentication
  • Secure Passwords
  • Advice on Third Party Apps/Software
  • Version Upgrades


What about emails?

Now that your website is nice and secure, it’s time to take a look at emails. Don’t worry – we’re not judging the minefield that is your inbox! Instead, we are going to take a look at those dubious looking emails that somehow still make it past the spam filters from time to time.


More often than not, these spam emails are malicious attempts at phishing by criminals and fraudsters. Phishing is a form of cybercrime in which these scammers send emails claiming to be from legitimate sources such as a bank, government or business. The emails often request the recipient to provide or verify sensitive information such as passwords or card details and are often quite convincing in their appearance. Some may contain links to dangerous websites or prompt the recipient to inadvertently download malware onto their device.


Can you recognise a suspicious email?

With fraudsters increasingly looking to target businesses, it’s vital that both employers and staff are able to recognise suspicious looking emails. We recommend testing your knowledge with the free Phishing IQ Test. Can you identify the phishing emails? Have a go and see if you can guess all 7 correctly!


Preventing Phishing

As already mentioned, spam filters can go a long way in preventing potential phishing attacks. Ensuring you have up to date anti-virus software can however, help to mitigate any damage if you do fall victim to such an attack. Despite these advances in cyber security, it is still difficult to avoid online scams altogether with an estimated 75% of organisations worldwide experiencing some form of phishing attack in 2020. While it is estimated that just 1% of phishing attacks are carried out by either phone call or text message, mobile phishing attacks are also on the increase.


We recommend following the guidance below to keep yourself safe from phishing attempts:

  • Never confirm your personal or financial details over email
  • DO NOT click on any links or open attachments unless you are absolutely certain that it is from a trusted source
  • Check the email address of the sender and if necessary, do an online search to see if you can find more information about them
  • Be wary of emails addressing you with a non-specific greeting such as ‘Dear Customer’
  • Phishing attempts often instil a sense of urgency so consider this if the email is pressuring you to act quickly
  • Look for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors as these can be found frequently in phishing emails
  • Delete any suspicious emails from your inbox and block the sender
  • If in doubt, use the online tool on the Citizens Advice website for further guidance


Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found this guidance useful and that it will go some way to preventing you from falling hook, line and sinker for an online scam! If in doubt, we encourage our customers to send in screenshots of suspicious emails they receive so we can advise on the next steps to take. We can however, assist even if you don’t already have a support package in place. Get in touch with us to arrange a FREE audit which will identify potential areas for improvement in your website security.